By Sam Youngman - 05/18/10 11:56 PM EDT
President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the country would be worse off if Republicans had thwarted his economic policies.
“If the ‘just say no’ crowd had won out, if we had done things the way they wanted to go, we’d be in a deeper world of hurt than we are right now,” Obama said during a campaign-style visit to the swing state of Ohio. “The steady progress we’re beginning to see across America would not exist.”
The president, who toured the Youngstown, Ohio-based steel pipe manufacturer V&M Star, boasted of the jobs being added to the economy because of his $787 billion stimulus package.
Obama said he was “not going to stand here and pretend that things are back to normal, or even close to where they need to be.” But he added that the situation in Ohio and elsewhere would have been worse if Republicans had been able to block his policies.
The president called out the GOP for “predicting and even rooting for failure,” and accused the party of hypocrisy for opposing the stimulus package but promoting projects the stimulus funds.
“This always puts a smile on my face — even as they’ve tried to score political points attacking these members of Congress, a lot of them go home and then they claim credit for the very things they voted against,” Obama said. “They’ll show up … to cut the ribbons. They’ll put out a press release. They’ll send the mailings touting the very projects that they were opposing in Washington. They’re trying to have it both ways.”
Obama noted the 14 percent unemployment rate in Ohio, about four percentage points higher than the national rate. He said there are “families having a tougher time than they’d ever imagined.”
“And a lot of people — let’s just be blunt — aren’t always real impressed when a governor or a president comes swooping in and talking about the economy, because the only headline they want to see is the headline that says, ‘You’re hired,’ ” he said.
Obama spoke on a critical primary day for both parties. Democrats are hoping an improving economy will bolster their chances of retaining control of Congress for the remainder of Obama’s first term in office.
Several Ohio Democrats joined Obama as he offered his remarks, including Reps. Tim Ryan, Charlie Wilson and John Boccieri and Gov. Ted Strickland.